A little over a week ago, I was told to “F&% Off!” by a fellow Hispanic, that I was “trying to be a gringo” because of how I responded to a Facebook post. Apparently because I wasn’t willing to side with Mexican-minded immigrants, I was summarily dismissed. Rather than try to have an intelligent, give-and-take dialogue, I got cussed out.

So it goes in these increasingly divisive times, especially when it comes to that issue that underlined the Trump campaign and now continues to fuel furor.

We can all agree that this discussion on immigration and border security has escalated to a boiling point. We knew this would come. Right now, the lines are being drawn within the Hispanic community, including here in Waco. And very often it comes down to assumptions, stereotypes and political correctness. And when we don’t fulfill certain convenient expectations, things turn ugly. Are you American or Mexican? American or Latino? Whose side are you on anyway? Most importantly, are you legal or illegal? Even as a businessman long in our city, I still get the question.

The anger generated within the Hispanic news media is especially unwarranted and irresponsible, not to mention reckless. Univision, Telemundo, Galavision and countless Spanish radio networks, combined with social media and non-traditional media, have produced one mega-messaging machine that spins the “truth” and pushes a message of hatred.

With all the misinformation, almost all of Latin America and many Latinos in America are convinced Donald Trump hates Mexicans. These Latinos are convinced he wants to destroy families and evict all foreigners from the United States.

So where was the reporting on President Obama’s ban on people from Muslim countries seeking to enter the United States? And where were the protests of President Obama’s increased deportations during his presidency? As President Trump indicated in a debate, Obama sent packing far more than President George W. Bush did — some 2.5 million.

Yet, despite this increase in deportations and Obama’s failure to press immigration reform when he and Democrats had control over both chambers on Capitol Hill, Hispanics continue to toe the line for the Democrat Party, voting at nearly 70 percent for its nominees.

From one American to another, I may be a minority within my minority — that is, a Republican — but I am always going to stand with the country that gives me opportunity to succeed and recognizes my god-given rights. Am I selling out my heritage because I want to be successful in America? I’m a proud U.S. Air Force veteran, father, husband and business owner.

It’s time to put our country first. The idea that being American means one has “sold out” his culture is nonsense. It’s possible to be a loyal American who still values the laws of this nation, yet maintains his heritage. The only difference is how each of us does this and the integrity we embrace in doing so.

Longtime Republican Duke Machado owns Machado’s Autos. He was a missile systems specialist in the Air Force. In recent years, he has sought to impress on lawmakers the need for immigration reform.